New NLG submission to ICC prosecutor: Neither facts nor law support Israel’s self-defense claims on Gaza


The Palestine Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild has sent a revised submission to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Gaza, “Neither facts nor law support Israel’s self-defense claim regarding its 2014 assault on Gaza,” written by attorney James Marc Leas. The updated submission uses new reports and materials to further bolster its case that Israeli claims of “self-defense” for its attack on Gaza are false and unsupported in either fact or law.

“Although the facts, law, and admissions pointed otherwise, during the July-August 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, the Israeli government was successful in promoting its self-defense claim with western news media and in persuading certain U.S. politicians that Israel was implementing its right to defend itself…Until now, successful public relations campaigns based on self-defense have been critical to Israeli officials avoiding accountability and maintaining impunity,” said Leas.

The new piece updates the NLG’s previous submission, “Attack First, Kill First, and Claim Self-Defense,” also prepared and submitted by Leas. The new submission includes material showing that the 277 page Israeli government report, “The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects” (released June 14, 2015), that builds its case around self-defense, contradicts contemporaneous weekly reports issued by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center” (ITIC), Israeli daily newspapers, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). “The Israeli government report fails to address how its self-defense claim could survive the fact that Israeli military forces had been violating that cease-fire and had been striking first,” said Leas.

As mentioned in the report, claims of “self-defense” against Hamas rocket fire were invoked by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. President Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and the United States Senate, not only as justification for the July-August 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. “Self-defense” against the rockets was also used to deflect allegations that Israeli forces committed war crimes by targeting civilians and civilian property in Gaza.

As also described in the report, the Israeli government’s campaign to discredit the ICC inquiry is consistent with the same public relations strategy, relying entirely on claimed self-defense against Hamas “terror,” especially rocket fire.

Download ICC Submission PDF: Submission: Neither facts nor law support Israeli claims of self-defense in Gaza (PDF)

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